Confidence and Momentum

The Hollywoodbets Sharks were simply too dominant against a game Edinburgh Rugby side in a pulsating 23-13 Vodacom United Rugby Championship victory at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on Saturday.

Going into the game with confidence, they grew in self-belief as the game unwound, with the result never really looking like it was going to go any other way as the Durban side scored a well-deserved victory.

The match started out at a furious pace, both sides looking to play a high tempo game which thrilled the crowd as possession was transferred from one side of the field to the other.

Early scrum dominance for a Hollywoodbets Sharks team missing the late withdrawal of Vincent Koch to a stomach bug followed by a strong maul set the tone for a massively physical battle between the respective packs.

It took 21 minutes before the first score but an absolute beaut of a finish from eventual Man of the Match Aphelele Fassi. After receiving the ball on the halfway line, one side-step is all it took to wrong foot the first defender and then he coasted 30m before handing off the final line of defence to score the opening try, with Siya Masuku bang on target with the conversion.

Edinburgh were having a torrid time, forced to defend against numerous incursions into their half, to their credit managing to hold up potential try-scoring efforts over the line.

Towards the end of the first half, their first real attacking opportunity presented itself and they managed to get into the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ 22 before earning a penalty that was sent through the posts to get them onto the scoreboard, trailing 7-3.

The first 10 minutes of the second half was a mirror of what had taken place in the first half, bruising, uncompromising physicality from the Hollywoodbets Sharks, with Edinburgh forced to defend for their lives.

The visitors were feeling the pressure and the brutality from the home side and a lovely break saw captain Lukhanyo Am finish off an enterprising effort as he smashed his way through the Scottish defenders for a TMO-referred try in the corner for a nine point lead.

Edinburgh succeeded with a second penalty to cut the difference down, but trailed 12-6 with 25 minutes remaining before Masuku restored the nine point lead with a penalty a few minutes later.

A truly cynical act on defence of their tryline saw Edinburgh penalised once again as their discipline started to fold and Masuku made no mistake in front of the poles to push his team into an 18-6 lead with just under a quarter hour remaining.

As the game hit the final five minutes, the visitors’ indiscipline cost them a yellow card defending 5m from their tryline.

Their tails were up and so was the self-belief. Edinburgh tried but it wasn’t enough and Phepsi Buthelezi smashed his way over in the corner to put the game out of any doubt with two minutes to go, pushing his team into a 23-6 lead

Edinburgh scored in the last play of the game, finally managing to breach the Hollywoodbets Sharks’ tryline for the first and only time in the match.

Back-to-back victories place the Hollywoodbets Sharks in a strong and favourable position ahead of their EPCR knock-out match against Zebre at Hollywoodbets Kings Park next weekend.